Several Centenarians have found their way to Instrumentalcize™ Brain and Body Fitness Classes & I'm always interested in hearing why...
In research, centenarians "consistently say that besides attitude, keeping busy and engaging the mind are crucial. Especially activities involving socializing and camaraderie."
(See full article at http://www.elder-one-stop.com/importance-of-elderly-activities.html)
The centenarians in my classes (up to 106 years young) seem to agree that the camaraderie is a draw to my program, and they cite it as very important to living their highest quality of life.
Camaraderie is "the loyalty and warm, friendly feelings that friends have for each other." (YourDictionary.com)
And when we apply this to the life of a resident at a senior center, these feelings are just as needed as ever. Most have gone through many undesirable changes to get there (family unit is different - children grown, maybe grandchildren, too; spouses may or may not be with them; former friends and even pets are probably elsewhere; health issues may be present, etc.) It may very well feel like they are starting over.
With all of these likely unwanted changes, the importance of having others to relate to is crucial. Having friends to share day-to-day activities with can help alleviate mental stress and even provide physical benefits.
Per the Mayo Clinic, here are a few of the perks of friendships:
Increased sense of belonging and purpose
Boosted happiness and stress reduction
Improved self-confidence and self-worth
Better coping with traumas (including events such as divorce, illness, job loss or death of a loved one)
Encouragement to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise
"Friends also play a significant role in promoting your overall health. Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections."
(Read the full article at https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/friendships/art-20044860)
A 2013 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences agreed with this finding and said that "people who are socially isolated are more likely to die prematurely than those with the most active social lives.” (https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/surprising-hobby-protects-one-mans-aging-brain/)
So, what is an active social life, and how do you get one?
You can keep it simple - let's just start with having a conversation with someone else.
Ten minutes of talking with a friend has even been found to strengthen memory! It can be as effective as taking part in a brain game - like doing a crossword puzzle- but, you don't have to do it alone!
(See more info about the University of Michigan study and a list of other social activity ideas: http://www.elder-one-stop.com/elderly-activities.html)
My active agers who attend the Instrumentalcize™ Brain and Body Fitness classes often cite socialization as one of their favorite parts of the class. While each individual is getting their own workout, playing their own instrument or holding their own prop, they get the feeling that we are all in the room together to accomplish something as a group. And that's totally true! It's the beauty of group fitness. We're all there because we know how important it is to keep moving, and it's more fun to do it together! It's more fun to move with motivating music and share interesting thoughts with one another. It's fun to laugh and be silly. We sometimes work with partners or have group goals which really works to spur us on. We act as cheerleaders for one another, and I, too, as the instructor, am motivated by the class. We share energy, and that lifts us all.
Feel better. Find a new friend today! Whether you meet them in the lobby or you come try one of our classes, it's going to be good for you - physically, mentally and maybe even spiritually! Join forces with others today!
What happens in class, stays in class (well...and on the internet for this blog)! We won't tell your families how much fun you are having with all of your new friends! They don't need to know that you were as happy as a kid at summer camp today, playing instruments like you were the leader of the band...or do they? Lol!